WhatsApp latest feature: Spot fake news amid coronavirus crisis2 min read . Updated: 24 Mar 2020, 04:09 PM IST
- This new WhatsApp feature will ask if you want to upload the message on Google, so you can see if it contains fake news
- In order to curb fake news spread across social media, especially in the crucial time of coronavirus outbreak, WhatsApp has been ramping up its fact-checking features constantly
Popular social messaging app WhatsApp constantly keeps updating its app to provide its users with a smooth messaging experience. After finally launching the year-long awaited dark mode feature for both its Android and iOS users, the Facebook-owned messaging app is now in talks to soon roll out an advanced search messages option, which will let users search messages on the web directly from the app, hence curtailing the spread of fake messages across the app by helping to authenticate forwarded messages via web searches on the same.
According to WABetaInfo, the online portal dedicated entirely to the coverage of the Facebook-owned messaging platform, the chat app has been testing advanced search features for long now where users can search for 'Frequently Forwarded Messages' on the web from the chat. This can be shown as WhatsApp labels messages that have been frequently forwarded on top of the text, as seen on the screenshot shared by the blog. This feature, therefore, let you know that the message may not be genuine since it has been forwarded multiple times.
This new feature, which is yet to roll out officially, shows a magnifying glass against the forwarded message. After tapping the icon, WhatsApp will ask if you want to upload the message on Google, so you can see if it contains fake news.
Once you tap on the icon, a message will pop up and read, “Would you like to search this on the Web? This will upload the message on Google." Tap on the ‘Search the Web' button and it will then search on Google.
As the feature is not available right now, WhatsApp, however, confirmed that it will be available soon. “We are working on new features to help empower users to find out more information about the messages they receive that have been forwarded many times. This feature is currently in testing, and we look forward to rolling it out in the near future," a spokesperson told TechCrunch.
Being the world's most-used social messaging app, with more than 2 billion users globally, WhatsApp has been ramping up its fact-checking features constantly. More so, during the crucial times of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the world, in order to curb the spread of fake news regarding the virus, which has already killed more than 16,000 people globally and affected more than 300,000. The World Health Organization has also joined hands in providing authentic news and set up a 'Health Alert' on the app.
The new service, which is free to use, has been designed to answer questions from the public about coronavirus, and to give prompt, reliable and official information 24 hours a day, worldwide, the WHO said adding that this will also serve government decision-makers by providing the latest numbers and situation reports.
Moreover, according to an earlier Mint report, WhatsApp also announced a $1 million donation to the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network and a partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub to stem the flow of misinformation around the pandemic.